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The Tomb of the Cybermen (TV story)

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The Tomb of the Cybermen
Tomb ep2
Novelised as: Doctor Who and the Tomb of the Cybermen
Script release: The Tomb of the Cybermen
Doctor: Second Doctor
Companion(s): Jamie, Victoria
Main enemy: Cybermen, Eric Klieg, Kaftan
Main setting: Telos, the 25th century
Key crew
Writer: Kit Pedler & Gerry Davis
Director: Morris Barry
Producer: Peter Bryant
Release details
Story number: 37
Number of episodes: 4
Season/series: Season 5
Premiere broadcast: 2 September - 23 September 1967
Premiere network: BBC1
Format: 4x25-minute episodes
Production code: MM
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Doctor Who television stories
The Evil of the Daleks The Abominable Snowmen
Memorable moment
The Cyber Controller - Doctor Who - The Tomb Of The Cybermen - BBC02:03

The Cyber Controller - Doctor Who - The Tomb Of The Cybermen - BBC

Another memorable moment
Get some sleep - Doctor Who - The Tomb of the Cybermen - BBC01:33

Get some sleep - Doctor Who - The Tomb of the Cybermen - BBC

Behind the scenes video
Special Feature - The Cybermen - Doctor Who - The Tomb of the Cybermen - BBC02:29

Special Feature - The Cybermen - Doctor Who - The Tomb of the Cybermen - BBC

More behind the scenes stuff
Special feature - Tutankhamun and the Cybermen - Doctor Who - Tomb of the Cybermen- BBC02:39

Special feature - Tutankhamun and the Cybermen - Doctor Who - Tomb of the Cybermen- BBC

Another behind the scenes moment
Doctor Who Tomb of the Cybermen Event19:11

Doctor Who Tomb of the Cybermen Event

The Tomb of the Cybermen was the first story of Season 5 of Doctor Who. It introduced the first Cyber-Controller and the Cybermats. It is the earliest Second Doctor serial to survive in its entirety.

Synopsis Edit

The TARDIS arrives on the planet Telos, where an Earth archaeological expedition led by Professor Parry is trying to uncover the lost tombs of the Cybermen. With a lot of help from the Doctor, the archaeologists enter the tombs. There, one of the party, Klieg, reveals himself and his business partner, Kaftan, to be planning to revive the Cybermen.

He wants to use their strength, allied with the intelligence of his own Brotherhood of Logicians, to create an invincible force for conquest. It transpires, however, that the tomb is actually a giant trap designed to lure humans suitable for conversion into Cybermen — a fate that almost befalls Kaftan's assistant Toberman.

After fending off an attack by Cybermats — small but dangerous cybernetic creatures — the Doctor destroys the Controller, defeats the revived Cybermen and reseals the tombs.

Plot Edit

Episode 1 Edit

Tomb ep1

An Earth expedition makes a shocking discovery

The Doctor (now about 450 earth years old) and Jamie show their new travelling companion Victoria Waterfield the interior of the TARDIS, though she scarcely believes it can travel through time and space. As the ship takes off from Skaro, the group ready for their next adventure.

On the planet Telos, an archaeological expedition uses explosives to uncover the entrance to a city hidden in the side of a mountain. When a member of the expedition touches the huge metal doors, he is electrocuted. Immediately afterwards, the TARDIS lands nearby. The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria arrive on the scene. Captain Hopper, the expedition's pilot, holds them at gunpoint until the Doctor convinces them they had nothing to do with the death through his ability to take control of the situation. John Viner, the assistant to expedition leader Parry, accuses the Doctor of being part of a rival expedition. Parry explains that they are here to find the remains of the Cybermen, who apparently died out centuries before. The expedition is funded by Miss Kaftan, who is accompanied by her giant manservant, Toberman, and her colleague, Eric Klieg.Now that he knows the Cybermen are involved, the Doctor decides to accompany the group. He uses a small device to unelectrify the doors and employs Toberman's great strength to haul them open. The Doctor warns the expedition to be careful but they march in, paying no heed to his warning

Entering the darkened inner chamber, they find a control panel with a series of levers and switches, large, hidden doors and a sealed hatch. Klieg and Kaftan conspire with ea h other, more concerned with their new friends than anything else. It is decided that Kaftan shall stay with Victoria, Klieg with the Doctor and Toberman with Jamie The Doctor opens the doors using the levers, which operate on symbolic logic. Klieg is resentful that the Doctor is able to deduce this instead of him. The hatch, however, remains sealed, so the members of the expedition split up and explore.

Victoria, Viner and Kaftan come across a chamber with a sarcophagus-like box facing a projection device that was apparently used to revitalise the Cybermen.

In another room, Jamie and Peter Haydon find a small silver caterpillar-like object on the floor.

In the control room, the Doctor gives Klieg the clue he needs to reactivate the controls to restore power to the base. He tries to pretend that he doesntt want Klieg to activate the tomb but when he does and the lab rumbkes into life the Doctor rushes away keen to ensure his companions are safe

When Victoria curiously climbs into the sarcophagus, Kaftan operates the controls and seals Victoria in the sarcophagus. When Viner confronts her, she denies she did anything. Viner checks to see Victoria is still alive and when he discovers she is runs off to find the Doctor

Now the operating panel is operational Haydon plays with the control panel in the room, a wall lights up with a hypnotic pattern that puts Jamie into a trance. Haydon is fascinated with the technology and has Jamie rerun it With him as the hypnotised subject

The Doctor shows up and frees Victoria.

Klieg is frustrated that the lab is only partialyy working and seeks to discover how to get it up,to full activation

The Doctor finds Jamie and Haydon experimenting and rushed to turn off the console Before he can intervene, a Cyberman slides into view and a gun fires, killing Haydon.

Episode 2 Edit

The Cyberman slides out of sight again. Parry engers and demands to know what has happened He refuses to believe Viner's panicked explanation of a Cyberman. The Doctor deduces that the gun was at the back of the room. They mock up what Jamie did before and his belief is born out The gun was shooting a mock-up Cyberman, and Haydon got in the way. The Doctor speculates that it mist have been a weapons testing range. Victoria finds the metal caterpillar, which the Doctor identifies as a cybermat, and advises her to leave it alone. Instead, she places it in her handbag.

Toberman returns to Miss Kaftan and reports that "it is done." Klieg confides to Kaftan that he is struggling to decode what he needs to do to get into the tomb Kaftan assures him that logic will prevail and that time is no option Parry and thd group returns. He calls the group together and decides to abandon the expedition and return to Earth. At this point, however, Hopper returns and angrily reveals that someone has sabotaged the rocket ship — no one will be leaving until he can effect repairs and no one will be allowed aboard the ship until his crew has done so. Viner freaks out again not wanting to be left overnight Klieg jumps on this delay to take advantage and explore the area Shortly after he cracks the code (with a little help from the Doctor) opening the door to the tomb Everyone except Victoria and Kaftan are to go. Victoria protests but the Doctor asks her to stay and keep an eye on Kaftan. She relents Kaftan asks for Toberman to stay but the Doctor pretends that he will stay if it were not for the protection of Toberman Kaftan relents Left alone Kaftan places something in Victoria's drink.

Klieg and his party find a vast chamber beneath, with a multistory structure containing cells of frozen Cybermen, entombed in suspended animation.

Back in the control room, Victoria succumbs to the sleeping pill that Kaftan put in her coffee and shuts the hatch.

The noise of the hatch snapping closed alerts the party in the to,n Jamie and Viner explore to find their exit blocked Viner returns panicking Klieg, in the meantime, has found a code on a console and speculates it must open the hatch. He activates more controls and the ice begins to melt. Viner watches in shock and tries to turn the console back Klieg shoots Viner and holds the rest at bay while they watch the Cybermen return to life.

Back in the control room, Victoria has awoken. She finds the hatch closed and, when she questions Kaftan and attempts to put the hatch back in place, Kaftan pulls a gun on her. As Kaftan backs Victoria into a corner the cybermat in Victoria's handbag revives and attacks Kaftan, rendering her unconscious, despite Victoria's warnings Victoria grabs Kaftan's pistol and shoots the cybermat, but she doesn't know how to re-open the hatch. She leaves to find Hopper.

Klieg reveals his real agenda. He and Kaftan belong to the Brotherhood of Logicians, who possess great intelligence but no power. He is certain the Cybermen will be grateful for their revival and ally themselves with him, providing that power. The Doctor confides to Jamie he expected Klieg was up to no good. The Cybermen break free from their membranes and file past the humans, ignoring them, and free their leader, the Cybercontroller, from his cell. When Klieg steps forward to take the credit for reviving them and suggesting their alliance, the Cybercontroller grabs and crushes his hand, forcing him to his knees and declaring, "You belong to us. You shall be like us."

Episode 3 Edit

Tomb ep3

The Doctor faces the Cybercontroller

The Cybermen recognise the Doctor, whose involvement in prior invasion attempts is recorded in their computer records. The Doctor realises that the tombs were an elaborate trap. The Cybermen were waiting for beings intelligent enough to decipher the controls needed to free them.

Captain Hopper and his compatriot Jim Callum return with Victoria. Kaftan awakes but pretends to be out cold

The Cybermen inform the expedition they will be converted into Cybermen in preparation for a new invasion of Earth; and Klieg will be the first. He seems pleased he is to be their lesder but is worried about the process of adaptation The Cybermen swarm the expeditonn

In the control room, Hopper and Jim Callum have figured out the electronics that will open the hatch. Kaftan pulls a gun on the trio and orders them to stop Victoria provides a decoy and Kaftan is disarmed The tomb is opened. Hopper descends into the tomb.

The expedition have been rounded up and told that, with the exception of Klieg, they will be frozen until ready for adaptation Captain Hopper emerges from the hatch and uses smoke grenades to distract the Cybermen while the humans make their escape. They barely manage to scramble back to the control room and shut the hatch before the Cybermen can follow. As the Doctor emerges from the hatch, he is grabbed by a Cyberman Victoria beats him off just as the tomb is closed leaving the Cyberman inside beating st the metal hatch They realise that Toberman and Klieg, however, is left behind.

Toberman is brought to the Cyber Contoller who says they will convert him for his power Klieg sneaks up to the hatch and wraps on the door.

The party topside are reluctant to open the door but the Doctor convinces them that it is Klieg or Toberman due to the softness of the noise. They swiftly open the door long enough for Klieg to escape. Klieg and Kaftan are moved into the testing range to keep them out of mischief while the others decide on their next course of action. Captain Hopper goes back to the ship

Inside the tomb the Cybermen prepare a fleet of Cybernats to infestbthe control room

Inside the testing room, Klieg pries a weapon out of the hands of the Cyberman target, an X-ray laser he calls a cyber-gun. Kaftan makes Klieg realise that with this gun he is able to control the Cybermen as well as the expedition He agrees and says he will target the Doctor first, seeing him as a threat to him ruling over the Cybermen.

Outside, the expedition is asleep with Victoria and the Doctor keeping guard They discuss the merits and pitfalls of not being able to remember their family Once Victoria is asleep the group are threatened by cybermats. The Doctor manages to rig electrical cables from the control panel to create a magnetic field that disables the cybermats. As one threat is eliminated, Klieg and Kaftan step out, armed with the cyber-gun, which Klieg fires directly at the Doctor

Episode 4 Edit

Tomb ep4

The Cybermen's secret weapon

Klieg hits Callum in the shoulder, and tells the others that he can still negotiate with the Cybermen. Klieg opens the hatch and calls for the Cybercontroller. The Cybercontroller climbs up, accompanied by Toberman, who, unknown to the others, has been partially cyberconverted and is under Cyberman control. The Cybercontroller moves slowly, as his energy is running low — in fact, most of the Cybermen have been ordered back to their tombs to conserve power. Holding the cybergun on the Cybercontroller, Klieg says he will allow it to be revitalised in the sarcophagus if the Cybermen help him conquer the Earth. The Cybercontroller agrees. However, once revitalised, the Cybercontroller is too strong and breaks out of the sarcophagus. Telepathically signalling Toberman, the latter reveals his true allegiances and knocks Klieg unconscious. The Cybercontroller, in turn, picks up Klieg's cyber-gun and kills Kaftan when she tries to block its return to the tombs.

The death of his mistress, however, seems to shake Toberman out of his controlled state. Toberman struggles with the Cybercontroller and hurls it into a control panel, apparently killing it. The Doctor wants to make sure the Cybermen are no longer a threat, and goes back down into the tombs with Toberman and Jamie. Klieg regains consciousness and sneaks down with the cybergun while the others tend to Callum. He forces the Doctor away from the controls that will refreeze the Cybermen, declaring that he will be the new Controller, and revives them again. Klieg intends to turn the three over to the Cybermen for spare parts, but even as he says this, a revived Cyberman throttles Klieg from behind and kills him. Toberman fights and kills this Cyberman and the Doctor freezes the other Cybermen, hopefully for good this time. Hopper's crew have repaired the ship and they can leave at any time. The Doctor ushers the others out as he sets up a circuit to electrify the control panel and the doors, to prevent anyone from entering the city again. The Cybercontroller, however, is still alive, and lurches forward. Outside, Toberman uses his bare hands to shut the doors, struggling with the Cybercontroller one last time. He succeeds, completing the circuit, and both he and the Cybercontroller are electrocuted and killed. Parry and Hopper return to their ship after saying good-bye to the Doctor and his companions. No one notices a lone cybermat, moving along the ground outside the doors to the city…

Cast Edit

Crew Edit

References Edit

Cybermen Edit


The insignia adorning the tombs.

  • The Doctor has a book that he looks in to verify what the Cybermat is. There are two sizes of Cybermats.
  • The Cybermen have been frozen for five hundred years and they are familiar with the Doctor.
  • Telos has a rarified atmosphere and is the (current) home planet of the Cybermen, though they originated on Mondas.
  • Cybermen have been considered extinct for 500 years, with their last mentioned attack being The Moonbase.
  • Viner describes one of the control panels as dating from "their earlier dynasties".

The Doctor Edit

  • The Doctor says he is about four hundred fifty years old ("in Earth years").
  • The Doctor tells Victoria he has to try hard to remember his family; this is the first on-screen reference made to the Doctor having family (besides Susan), a theme to be touched upon several times later.
  • The Doctor compares the TARDIS to the simple time travel experiments of Victoria's father, but says that he has "perfected" it.
  • It is only because of the Doctor's intervention that the expedition is able to get into the base, and he also helps Klieg without the latter's knowledge to open the hatch.
  • The Doctor recognises a Cybermat and says he's "very nearly" seen the like of the control chamber before.

Story notes Edit

  • The beginning of this serial follows directly from the end of the previous story, The Evil of the Daleks. The Doctor also compares the TARDIS to the time travel attempts made by Victoria's father in that story.
  • In this story the Cybermats were remote-controlled and pull-back-and-go designs. (DOC: Tombwatch)
  • This story had the working titles of The Ice Tombs of Telos and The Cybermen Planet.
  • This serial was believed lost in 1978 (when the BBC's film archive was first properly audited, although it is absent on earlier 1976 listings) until film telerecordings of all four episodes were returned to the BBC by the Hong Kong television company ATV (formerly called RTV) in late 1991. The serial was released, to much fan excitement and with a specially recorded introduction by director Morris Barry, on VHS in May 1992.
  • Following the story's recovery in 1991 and return early in 1992 after decades of being presumed wiped, the episode was screened to a packed audience at BAFTA in Piccadilly on 26 April 1992, along with guests including director Morris Barry, producer Peter Bryant, story editor Victor Pemberton and actors Frazer Hines, Deborah Watling, Shirley Cooklin, Clive Merrison, George Roubicek and Michael Kilgarriff. Tony Clark, one of the audience members, recalled huge rounds of applause and thought that "everyone did love it". The broad verdict of a group of reviewers in DWB issue 101 agreed that the long-missing episode lived up to hype of its reputation of existing "at the very apex of Doctor Who's pyramid of masterpiece stories" when it was originally released on VHS. Gary Russell, reviewing the story in DWM 187, gave a "largely positive" review and said he "could go on forever about what's good in The Tomb of the Cybermen". (TEDW 1)
  • Toberman was originally intended to be deaf, hence his lack of significant speech; his hearing aid would foreshadow his transformation into a Cyberman. These elements were included in the novelisation.
  • Actress Shirley Cooklin (Kaftan) was married to producer Peter Bryant. Her character was written especially for her by Gerry Davis.
  • Peter Bryant, who had previously been assistant to Gerry Davis and been newly promoted to script editor on the preceding story, was allowed to produce this serial to test if he could take over from Innes Lloyd as producer later in the season. Bryant's own assistant, Victor Pemberton, acted as script editor on this serial, but left the series after production of the serial was finished. He did not want to be a script editor. When Bryant's eventual promotion to producer came, Derrick Sherwin became script editor.
  • The serial begins the semi-recurring tradition of Cybermen stories being titled "...of the Cybermen" (similar to many Dalek stories being titled "...of the Daleks", but less frequent). This is also used in TV: Revenge of the Cybermen, TV: Attack of the Cybermen, TV: Rise of the Cybermen, COMIC: The Power of the Cybermen, COMIC: Time of the Cybermen, AUDIO: Legend of the Cybermen, GAME: Blood of the Cybermen and PROSE: Plague of the Cybermen.
  • The story was chosen by BBC America to represent the Patrick Troughton era during their 50th anniversary programming. Edited into an omnibus format, it was aired by BBCA on 24 February 2013, after the debut of their homegrown special called, The Doctors Revisited - The Second Doctor. It also aired in the United Kingdom later in the year on 13 October, along with the Revisited special, on the Watch channel.
  • According to Julian Knott, when the VHS was released in 1992, it outsold the home video release of Aliens. (TEDW 1)
  • Eleventh Doctor actor Matt Smith cited The Tomb of the Cybermen as one of his favourite Doctor Who stories. (TEDW 1)

Ratings Edit

  • Episode 1 - 6.0 million viewers
  • Episode 2 - 6.4 million viewers
  • Episode 3 - 7.2 million viewers
  • Episode 4 - 7.4 million viewers

Myths Edit

  • The only surviving copy of this story is slightly edited. (The prints in the BBC's archives are complete and unedited. Editing was done to it for DVD release, but only to clean up the footage)
  • A Cyberman head from this story was stolen around the same time as a BBC producer quit outside the Doctor Who production office.

Filming locations Edit

Production errors Edit

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • In episode one, the Doctor and Jamie hold one of the tomb doors closed with their feet.
  • A Cyberman uses a visible harness to lift Toberman over his head. The DVD production notes imply that this was less obvious on the non-remastered version of the story. In the remastered DVD release, the wires holding up the Cyberman that Toberman throws are clearly visible.
  • Toberman returns the favour in episode four by spinning what is clearly shown to be a dummy Cybercontroller.
  • Just after Toberman throws the Cybercontroller onto the control panel, it is visible for a brief second that the helmet has come loose and the face of the mask breaks.
  • Episode two ends with the Cybercontroller crushing Klieg's arm and saying, "You belong to us. You shall be like us." As episode three begins, it says the same thing, but in a much higher pitch, which is kept through the rest of the story.

Continuity Edit

Home video and audio releases Edit

DVD releases Edit

Released as Doctor Who: The Tomb of the Cybermen, this was the first of the releases for 2002. It marked the first photomontage cover art by Clayton Hickman, which replaced the generic photo cover art of earlier releases from this point on.


NTSC - Warner Video E1181


  • The UK DVD release was rated PG, due to a mistaken attribution of "some mild sex, nudity"
  • The American DVD cover mistakenly credits the writing of this story to Robert Holmes. This happened due to a previous DVD release cover being used as a template. [source needed]
  • The DVD contains a VidFIREd clip from the story as an Easter Egg. This was included as a test to determine how successfully the VidFIRE process would survive MPEG-2 encoding. This was the first time any footage from the 1960s episodes had been publicly released in this way; all Hartnell and Troughton stories released from here on (with the exception of some lower-quality footage in the Lost in Time set) would go through this process. The story was re-released with the VidFIRE treatment applied to all of it in 2012.



A special edition of The Tomb of the Cybermen DVD was released in Revisitations 3 boxset, released in 2011. The other stories in the boxset set were The Three Doctors and The Robots of Death. Extras featured on the special edition include a new commentary, two new documentaries (Curse of the Cybermen's Tomb and Lost Giants), a promo TV spot, a documentary on the VidFIRE treatment on the story and an extended version of the Cybermen documentary which was originally released in the 2009 new series Cybermen collection. For this release the story's original video look was restored via VidFIRE technology, something that wasn't done for the 2002 DVD release.

VHS releases Edit

Released as Doctor Who: The Tomb of the Cybermen, the video was rushed to release after its recovery from Hong Kong at the end of 1991.


PAL - BBC Video BBCV4772
NTSC- Warner Video E1181

Notes: The video includes a special video interview with director Morris Barry, speaking about its recent recovery.

Audio release Edit

The episode was also released on audio formats.

Script book Edit

  • In August 1989, Titan Books published the scripts for the serial as part of its Doctor Who: The Scripts line of books.
Tomb of the cybermen script

Script book

External links Edit

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